15 Minutes

I got called up out of the blue on one Saturday night and asked at the last minute if I wanted to come along and catch the movie 15 Minutes. Being almost a fully fledged nerd, I wasn’t doing anything that couldn’t be interrupted, and I’m usually ready at a moments notice to do anything, so I jumped at the opportunity to get away from the computer for a few hours (even if it was simply replacing one screen for another).

I basically had no idea what this movie was about – in fact, I hadn’t heard of it at all. As I was walking out the door, I had a brief conversation with my brother about it, and he gave me a quick overview, which turned out to be mostly inaccurate anyway. So, for the first time I can remember, I was going to see a movie that I not only hadn’t seen the trailer for, but I knew more or less nothing about.

The effect this had, I think, turned out to be just as interesting as the movie itself. Not knowing what you’re about to watch in a cinema is a singularly interesting experience – you’ve got no idea where the plot is going, no foresight for particular scenes – nothing. A few days earlier, I had seen Tomcats, a childish comedy movie, for which I had seen a making-of special on Foxtel earlier. This special, of course, contained a lot of the funny scenes and jokes, which gave away not only heaps of the plot, but many of the scenes that would otherwise have been much funnier if I was watching them in the movie.

Anyway, I digress, but needless to say I will be exploring this whole new world I’ve discovered of seeing movies without knowing anything about them. Obviously, if you are interested in pursuing a similar philosophy, I recommend that you stop reading this post… now.

The movie stars Robert De Niro as ye olde hero cop, a tough old schooler that New York knows as a celebrity due to frequent appearances on one of the local COPS/news programs. Edward Burns acts as a gun-toting fire marshall, and we end up with these two guys trying to solve a double homicide. The audience, of course, already knows who is responsible, having seen it all happen at the start of the movie when the two bad guys are introduced – a duo comprised of a Czech, Emil, and a Russian, Oleg, who have come to the USA to try and retrieve their part of a bank heist.

Unfortunately, their old partner who they thought had all the cash has squandered it all, which leads to Emil going into a blind rage, brutally stabbing them to death, and then setting fire to their whole apartment. Oleg, in the meantime, is living out his dream of becoming a big-shot American film producer, and is merrily recording the event on his freshly stolen camcorder, loudly emblazoned with Sony logos. Enter cops, stage left.

What follows is the pursuit of the two perps around the city, the cops always one step behind. A bizarre scene unfolds as the criminals unleash a minor bloodbath, all captured on film by the soon-to-be-Spielberg Oleg. I could go futher into the details of the plot – which I found quite interesting – but I won’t, because you should go and see it.

Essentially though, the focus of the movie is, I thought, a fairly harsh criticism of the American press and legal system. The press get slammed because of its blatant sensationalism of violent crime and the fact that it adds another motive for crazy people to do crazy stuff – so they can get on TV and become famous. And then the legal system, because it makes it too easy for said people to escape with light sentences by claiming insanity.

Overall, I found it a pretty good movie; as mentioned it was an extremely refreshing way for me to see a movie, without knowing anything about it. Additionally, it was an interesting storyline, which was well executed by the actors, and one that brought up some important points about issues that cause a lot of strife all over the world.

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